The holiday season is here! Resort season is coming! And let’s be honest: you need a vacation this year, my friend. We all do! So, just in case you’re nervous (or in case you actually forgot how to do it), I decided to come up with a little reminder post about how to travel, but also how to travel during this weird, epic pandemic life we’re living. Here’s how!
1. Check Your Passport’s Expiration Date
You MUST have 6 months’ validity before the expiration date by the time you leave, or you will not be allowed through security! There’s almost nothing worse than being SO excited for your trip, only to discover you can’t leave because your passport is too close to expiring. Talk about an expensive bummer!
2. Check International Travel Requirements!
Do you need a COVID test before you leave? When you return? Is there a time frame for that? Do you need to quarantine when you get there? When you get home? Check all of this out before you commit, my traveling friend. Just be prepared!
3. Snag Epic Deals on Flights and Hotels
The flight and hotels deals you can find are the best in over 20 years! Steve and I have found epic deals to visit my family in Nashville ($150 per person, round trip, when it’s usually $700-$1000), and non-stop to San Diego from DC ($237 per person, round trip, when it can easily be $500-$600)!
As for hotels, we stayed at the luxurious, historic, iconic Hotel del Coronado for just $250 per night—oh, and we cashed in a free night from Hotels.com, too, making it an even better deal!
4. Review your Airline’s Policies
It’s always best to be prepared! The rules have changed a lot since the beginning of the pandemic, so it’s always a good idea to take a look at your airline’s current policies if you haven’t flown in a while. Just take a look at their website, or do a little Googling. Here are some things to check out in advance:
- What is the boarding order? Many airlines are boarding more efficiently (from back to front), but many are still allowing pre-boarding for elite status members, families with children, service members, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- Are middle seats blocked? Southwest is keeping all their middle seats blocked for now, but other airlines have stopped because of the many cleanliness and safety precautions they take. So if proximity to others is important to you, know what you’re getting into before you get there!
- What are the current mask policies? Okay, you don’t need to Google this. You will still need to wear a mask for now! So don’t forget yours, and bring a spare.
- Is food being served? If you’re on a regional flight (less than two hours), you’re not getting any food. Sorry! For longer flights, you might get a snack bag. The only way to know is to Google it or search the airline’s website directly.
Nervous? Why Now is the Safest Time to Fly
5. Don’t Forget to Pack these Items
There are just some things you need to bring with you these days. You can’t count on these things being provided, but you can count on them as necessities. *Links below are Amazon Affiliate links, meaning that when you shop with me, you’re supporting my small business at no additional cost to you!
- Food: As mentioned above, you probably won’t be getting any substantial food. Bring a snack of your own, whether you think you’ll get hungry or not! Jerky, protein bars, or trail mix are excellent choices!
- Water Bottle: You’ll get water on the plane, sure, but flights are very dehydrating, especially if it’s your first flight in a while! Bring your own water bottle, and plan to refill it at a touch-free refilling station.
- Mask: I know, I’m ready for the masks to be done, too. But it’s the ultimate fashion statement for 2020!
- Sanitizer: You may be given an alcohol wipe when you board your flight, but just in case, it’s good to have some with you!
Get the goods: The Best Food for the Flight
6. Download Movies, TV, and Music
The removal of seat-back entertainment has been going on for a while now, but it has accelerated during the pandemic. Why? Planes that were unused for so long have been re-outfitted with updates such as new seats, new carpet, and no seat-back entertainment systems. The best solution is to download movies, TV shows, music, etc., to your phone or iPad before you go.
If you’re flying long-haul (more than six hours in one flight), you will likely have seat-back entertainment. But if you’re just flying regionally or even all the way across the country, that likelihood drops significantly. Check out the United Private Screening site to know in advance what your options will be.
More: Tips for Flying United
7. Make sure you have Plenty of Clean Masks
We all hate the masks, I know! I tried to order a mocha from my favorite coffee shop one day with my mask on and a plexiglass barrier between me and the barista, and she said, “Matcha?” NOOOO! We’re all ready for the masks to be done.
But when you’re traveling right now, it’s essential. As in, you won’t be allowed on the plane without one kind of essential. So, wear one, pack a couple more, and wash them out thoroughly in the sink when you need to. It’ll be okay. It’s not forever, just for now!
8. Charge all devices
Don’t forget to make sure you have enough power for your flight! That means phones, iPads, e-readers, airPods, bluetooth headsets, external chargers and back up battery packs, cameras, etc., etc., etc.!
Also helpful: Gifts for the Tech Traveler
9. Think about Parking at the Airport
One of the nice things about the pandemic limiting travel is the fact that the price of airport parking has plummeted! Parking at our hone airport, IAD, was once around $20. Now it’s just $10! It is now cheaper for us to park at the airport for up to four days instead of taking a cab or Uber to the airport and back home again. Check out the situation at your home airport!
10. Check In on Your Airline’s App
Don’t forget to do this! To limit person-to-person exposure and high-touch areas like touch screen kiosks, it’s best to download your airline’s app and check in there. Your phone is your boarding pass these days!
More: The Best Apps for Travel
11. Enjoy Your Trip!
You did it! You’re doing it! You’re doing a great job! Now have an awesome time on your trip, and don’t look back! Have you traveled yet during the pandemic? Comment below!
Want more? You’ll find everything you need on my Air Travel Page!
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